The Alabaster Story

"Equality cannot exist without empowerment, and empowerment cannot exist without knowledge"

With a primary aim of empowering women and ensuring that no one experiences the hardships we did, our core belief is this: “Equality cannot exist without empowerment, and empowerment cannot exist without knowledge.” My mission is to cultivate opportunities for every woman, child, and adolescent to assert and advocate for their rights.

Growing up in poverty taught me that when you’ve faced life’s toughest challenges already, the only direction left to go is up. In my childhood, we didn’t have the luxury of new school shoes or clothes like my peers did. Despite this, amidst the struggle, a vision ignited within me, and a dream was born – that’s where our story begins.

Education was our beacon of hope. Raised in a working-class neighborhood where college was a rarity, we understood its transformative power. Education opened doors to opportunities, fueling our dreams and amplifying our voices. With every “no” we heard; we became more determined to defy the odds.

As the founder of the Alabaster Training Centre, nestled in the rural area of Phoenix, I’m dedicated to creating opportunities for community involvement and positive change. I strive to inspire young minds to pursue their aspirations, knowing that every “no” can be countered with resilience and determination.

My journey taught me to trust my instincts, to adapt, and to never stop learning. Confidence, I’ve realized, is key – we often underestimate ourselves and overthink every step. But I’ve learned to embrace my background as a source of strength and resilience, using it to forge a brighter future.

Launching a business wasn’t in my plans, but with the support of my mother, I discovered newfound strength and purpose. Though my role may vary, community upliftment remains my unwavering focus.

Despite the hurdles, my team and I have navigated entrepreneurial challenges, proving that your background doesn’t dictate your future. Happiness should be your compass, regardless of others’ opinions.

What motivated and inspired you to start your business?

Starting a business can indeed provide employment opportunities and contribute to reducing the unemployment rate, which is a significant motivator for many entrepreneurs. However, there are often multiple factors that inspire individuals to start their own businesses. Here are a few common motivations:

  • Passion: Many entrepreneurs are driven by their passion for a particular product, service, or industry. They see an opportunity to turn their passion into a business and are motivated by the desire to share their enthusiasm with others.
  • Independence: Some people are motivated to start their own businesses because they want to be their own boss and have more control over their work lives. They value the freedom and autonomy that entrepreneurship can provide.
  • Opportunity: Entrepreneurs often identify gaps or opportunities in the market that they believe they can address with their own business idea. They are motivated by the potential to fill a need, solve a problem, or offer something new and innovative.
  • Financial gain: While not the sole motivator for many entrepreneurs, the potential for financial success can certainly be a driving factor. Starting a successful business can provide financial stability and wealth-building opportunities.
  • Impact: Some entrepreneurs are motivated by the desire to make a positive impact on their community, industry, or the world at large. They see entrepreneurship as a means to create change and leave a lasting legacy.
  • Flexibility: For those who value work-life balance and flexibility, starting a business can offer the opportunity to create a schedule and work environment that aligns with their personal preferences and priorities.

Ultimately, the motivations for starting a business can vary widely from person to person, but the desire to create something meaningful, impactful, and potentially lucrative is often at the core of entrepreneurial ventures.

What steps did you take to get things going in the beginning?

I learned everything I could! I read books, I took training, I spoke with other people in my industry to better understand what I wanted to offer. I looked inward to determine who I wanted to work with, which type of clients I could best serve. I asked for help.

From communicating with different people around me helped me figure out the nuts and bolts. I tried out different ways of doing things and found what worked best for me.

What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?

I’ve been fortunate that all of my clients have come from referrals, however that wasn’t an easy task. It took developing strong and committed relationships with each of them. I worked a lot of hours (and continue to do so) to ensure that I’m offering my clients the highest quality and best possible service.

What challenges have you faced and how did you overcome them?

As an expatriate navigating the complexities of running a business in a foreign culture, I encountered significant challenges, particularly in grasping concepts like discrimination and bullying, which were entirely new to me. 

Overcoming these hurdles required a deep understanding of my target audience and refining my client selection process. While the journey wasn’t without its share of missteps, I gradually honed my ability to discern who I wanted to collaborate with and how to assertively decline partnerships that didn’t align with my values. 

Through this process, I came to realize that many challenges stemmed from external factors beyond my control, such as the insecurities of others. Learning to accept this reality was key to finding peace and moving forward in my entrepreneurial journey.

Can you tell us about any habits/things you do, which set you up for success every day?

One of the key habits that consistently sets me up for success every day is my commitment to establishing clear boundaries around my time. While this wasn’t always a practice I adhered to, I’ve found that by starting and ending my day at set times, I’m able to approach my work with a greater sense of balance and focus.

This structured approach not only enables me to better serve my clients but also fosters a more harmonious and fulfilling personal life.

What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?

The advice I would offer to fellow entrepreneurs is to embark on a journey of self-discovery to truly understand who you are and how you want to make your mark in the world. It’s crucial to engage in inner work and self-reflection, recognizing that mistakes are inevitable parts of the entrepreneurial path. 

When setbacks occur, don’t dwell on them but instead, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and continue moving forward with determination. Remember, seeking support from others who have walked similar paths can provide invaluable guidance and reassurance. You’re never alone in facing the challenges of entrepreneurship.

When I face a big challenge, I ...

When confronted with a significant challenge, I make it a point to pause and take a deep breath before responding or considering any major changes.

This moment of reflection allows me to approach the situation with clarity and composure, enabling me to make informed decisions rather than reacting impulsively.

The most courageous thing I've ever done as an entrepreneur is ...

The most courageous step I’ve taken as an entrepreneur was initiating my business with just a credit card. Looking back, I would reassure my past self that every mistake made was a valuable lesson in my journey of growth and self-discovery.

Embracing those missteps ultimately shaped me into the resilient and knowledgeable entrepreneur I am today.

The best piece of advice I've ever been given is ...

Avoid putting all my eggs in one basket. Diversification is key, and maintaining multiple client relationships ensures stability and opens up opportunities for growth.

This wisdom has served as a guiding principle in my entrepreneurial journey, allowing me to navigate uncertainties with greater resilience and adaptability.

My favorite quote is:

"Educate a woman and you educate a family. Educate a girl and you change the future."